Merdeka fete with a difference - end of Najib?
MP SPEAKS What an irony! Fifty-eight years ago Malaysians fought against British colonialism, a system that extracted natural resources and created a political economy that promoted the British elites.
Fast forward to today and Malaysians are still being exploited by a ruling elite that hogs resources, plunders the nation's wealth and enriches itself and its cronies through rampant corruption and political connections.
The sad thing is that this time around, the elite are our own people.
In order to keep propagating its fear tactics and strategies as means to hold on to power, the ruling elite has kept state mechanisms and government institutions under its thumb.
It's therefore no wonder that this Merdeka Day is by far the most subdued, with Malaysians not even flying the country's flag as a way of basking in the spirit of Merdeka.
The usual cheer in the air is also sorely missing, despite a glitzy parade that is being planned at Dataran Merdeka, the same place that has been labelled off limits to the rakyat who want to exercise their legitimate right to dissent this weekend.
As we look back, we cannot say we have progressed as a nation. There is no separation of power and the invisible hands of the executive has left marks on the country's judiciary and legislature.
Instead of ensuring Prime Minister Najib Razak and ruling politicians are kept strictly to the straight and narrow, enforcement agencies play a crucial role in keeping them off the hook.
The play of religion on politics is shamelessly used by the ruling Umno and bigwigs to create fear and panic among the people.
A classic example is a recent statement by the embattled prime minister, who said Malays will be bastardised if Umno loses power.
Issues we are grappling with
Mismanagement of the economy, allegations of financial scandal against Najib, plunging reserves, weakening ringgit, rising crime rate, abuse of power by the elite, increasing household debts and poverty, stagnant wages and the siphoning of the country's wealth are the issues we are grappling with as Merdeka Day approaches.
Dissent is a show of patriotism to the country. It's when we rise to say enough is enough.
It's when the people come together to demand an end to corrupt governance.
It's when the rakyat join hands as one force to demand a clean government that respects and adheres by the Federal Constitution and principles of democracy.
Fifty-eight years ago, the demand was for independence from the British. Today, the cry is for independence from Umno/ BN.
And, just as our forefathers rallied for British administrators to leave the country, today we march to Dataran Merdeka to demand that Najib Abdul Razak to step down as the prime minister of the country.
And so let's march at the Bersih weekend rally as a show of the Merdeka spirit and to reclaim our inherent rights that have been robbed off us by the ruling elite.
And in doing so, let's hope we sow the seeds that promote the interest and aspirations of the Malaysian people.
CHARLES SANTIAGO is the Member of Parliament, Klang.